|Publication number||US5025126 A|
|Application number||US 07/530,357|
|Publication date||Jun 18, 1991|
|Filing date||May 30, 1990|
|Priority date||May 30, 1990|
|Also published as||CA2017674A1, CA2017674C|
|Publication number||07530357, 530357, US 5025126 A, US 5025126A, US-A-5025126, US5025126 A, US5025126A|
|Original Assignee||Henning Hansen|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (10), Non-Patent Citations (2), Referenced by (18), Classifications (15), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The invention is directed to a pivotally mounted articulated support arm.
2. Description of Related Art
Various operations carried out in workshops and auto body repair shops require provision of welding equipment and various related utilities, such as compressed air, electrical power, fume and dust extraction. It is desirable that access to welding equipment and utilities be provided as close as possible to the work site since exposed conduits, cables and hoses are susceptible to damage and pose a risk to workers. The sources of such utilities are often fixed or adjacent to a workshop wall (for example: electrical power, water and compressed air lines), or the source is difficult to move adjacent to the work site (for example: bottles of compressed gases, and welding power supplies).
In auto body shops for example, M.I.G. (metal arc inert gas) welding equipment is used to join sheet metal members. The welding equipment includes compressed gas cylinders, electric power sources, consumable welding wire spools and wire feeding equipment. In general moving such equipment adjacent to the work site is difficult and cumbersome. Consequently cables, and hoses from the welding equipment extend to the work site across the shop floor posing a risk to workers and subjecting the conduits to damage. Other operations such as grinding, and cutting may require electric and compressed air conduits. Since dust and welding fumes are generated dust and fume vacuum extraction hoses also extend across the shop floor between vacuum equipment and the work site.
All of the above conduits cause considerable cluttering and congestion of the work site. In addition sparks, melted metal globules and falling debris from welding, grinding and cutting of metal may damage the conduits. Winding and unwinding conduits involves significant labour and expose conduits to wear during repetitive operations.
To provide easy access to welding equipment in particular conventional devices provide overhead access through the use of an overhead travelling crane. The crane runs longitudinally on a runway and has a transverse travelling dolly from which is suspended various utility conduits including welding cables and conduits. This device is capable of supporting a relatively heavy load such as welding wire spools, welding wire feeders, and welding guns. Utility conduits such as compressed air lines, welding power supply conductors and welding gas lines may be suspended in a festoon along the crane runway and across the crane bridge between the travelling dolly and the stationary utility source. Such devices are relatively expensive, and require an open overhead space to operate (thus interfering with lifting cranes, for example). As such the devices are generally unsuitable for small shops. The shape of the conduit festoon changes significantly depending upon the position of the crane and dolly, thus altering the resistance to flow within fluid conduits. As a result the head loss due to fluid friction in vacuum conduits varies significantly depending upon the shape of the festoon. Uniformity of vacuum strength is preferred but not possible with such an arrangement. A festoon arrangement is also unsuitable for fume and dust extraction ducts, which are particularly used in welding operations since particles may accumulate in the lower portion of the festoon loops impeding air flow and inducing stress in the duct.
To provide ready access to utilities other than welding equipment, electrical cables and compressed air lines for example have been wound upon a spring loaded spool mounted to the ceiling above a work site in automobile shops, for example. The connecting outlet end of the conduit when not in use is retracted to a height at which it can be reached. When access to the utility conduit is required, the outlet end is connected to an electric or air powered tool and the conduit unwound from the spring loaded spool. Ratchet means maintain the conduit in position relative to the spool until released to rewind upon the spool. Such devices are suitable for relatively small diameter hoses or cables only due to practical size limitations of the spool and the winding diameter of the conduit. Access to the conduit for repairs or inspection is restricted due to the height at which the spool is mounted.
It is desirable, therefore, to provide a device which supports a load, such as welding equipment, and utility conduits, providing ready access to various utility outlets, while accommodating a variety of conduit sizes and types.
It is also desirable that such a device impose as little as possible upon the working area and upon the operation of adjacent shop equipment, such as lifting cranes, for example, and that the device be easily moved and stored in a compact retracted configuration.
A support arm is provided in accordance with the invention which addresses the disadvantages of the devices described above in a novel manner.
A support arm is provided including an inner boom having a longitudinal axis with mounting means pivotally connected to the inner end of the boom for pivotally mounting the boom to a stationary supporting structure. An outer jib having a longitudinal axis cantilevers from a knuckle having an inner end pivotally connected to the outer end of the boom and having an outer end pivotally connected to the inner end of the jib. Support means are connected to the outer end of the jib for supporting a suspended load. The boom and jib are each constructed of rigid open-ended longitudinal tubes for providing an at least partially encased access channel between the suspended load and the inner end of the boom. In a preferred embodiment, the arm includes utility outlets mounted to the support means at the outer end of the jib for allowing connection to at least one utility at a distance from an associated utility source, and associated utility supply conduits engaging the interior of the rigid longitudinal tubes of the boom and jib, and spanning between the rigid tubes of the boom and jib adjacent the knuckle for communicating between an associated utility outlet and the associated utility source.
The arm is capable of supporting a load at its outer end and accommodates utility conduits within the longitudinal tubes of which the boom and jib are constructed. The arm folds upon itself and may be stored against the supporting structure in a compact configuration.
The arm is particularly suited to welding operations since it may support a welding wire feeder at its outer end. The tubes of the boom and jib may accommodate dust and fume extraction hoses in addition to all M.I.G. welding conduits.
In order that the invention may be readily understood, a preferred embodiment will be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings.
FIG. 1 is an underside oblique view of the arm in an outstretched configuration.
FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of the arm in an outstretched configuration.
FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the arm in a folded configuration stored adjacent to a supporting wall.
FIG. 4 is a partially broken away detail view of the outer end of the jib showing the fume and dust extraction outlets.
FIG. 5 is a partially broken away detail view of the outer end of the jib showing the compressed air and 110 volt electric power outlets.
FIG. 6 is a detail oblique view of the area adjacent the pivotal connection between the knuckle and jib from the underside.
Referring to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the general construction and operation of an arm according to the invention may be readily observed. A support arm includes an inner boom 1, an outer jib 2, and a knuckle 3. The boom 1 and jib 2 each have a longitudinal axis and operate in a plane in the embodiment illustrated. A mounting bracket 4 connected to the inner end of the boom 1 pivotally mounts the boom 1 on a hinge to a stationary supporting structure such as a wall or column so that the inner boom 1, outer jib 2 and knuckle 3 operate substantially in a horizontal plane.
The knuckle 3 has an inner end pivotally connected to the outer end of the boom 1, and has an outer end pivotally connected to the inner end of the jib 2. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the pivotal connections between the mounting bracket 4, boom 1, knuckle 3 and jib 2 enable the arm to present the outer end of the jib 2 at a range of distances from the supporting structure and also enable the arm to fold upon itself adjacent a supporting wall for compact storage when not in use. For example when used in association with M.I.G. welding equipment in an auto body shop as illustrated the arm is designed to provide access to utilities in three adjacent repair bays.
A supporting bracket (shown as a truncated triangular transverse plate) is connected to the outer end of the jib 2 for supporting a suspended load. In the embodiment illustrated the load includes a planetary welding wire feeder 5 for M.I.G. welding and a supporting housing 6 accommodating a number of utility outlets, a full description of which will follow. A planetary feeder 5 is preferred over conventional feeders due to its relatively light weight and superior feeding characteristics. A handle 7 is also provided to manually guide the arm.
The boom 1 and jib 2 are each constructed of rigid open-ended tubes. The rigid tubes define an at least partially encased access channel between the housing 6 and the inner end of the boom 1 adjacent the supporting structure. A welding power supply conductor passes through the rigid tubes of the boom 1 and jib 2 between the housing 6 and an associated welding power supply source (not shown) positioned adjacent the support structure. For M.I.G. welding, an inert gas line and cooling water lines also pass through the rigid tubes of the boom 1 and jib 2 between their respective sources and the wire feeder 5. A coil 8 of consumable welding wire may be rotatably mounted to the arm. The wire passes through a protective sheath to the housing 6 then through the wire feeder 5 and welding gun 9.
When a welding operation is to be commenced, the worker pulls the arm to the desired location adjacent the work site by grasping the handle 7. The supply conduits, welding wire and wire feeder are all supported by the arm above ground level such that damage to the conduits is avoided and safety hazards associated with conduits laying upon the shop floor are avoided. The worker need not handle conduits or equipment separately, thereby reducing the labour costs and time involved. Conduits are protected from damage and are not subjected to wear from handling which results in a longer service life. The utility supply sources may all be located adjacent the supporting structure eliminating the need to move them and reducing the risk of damage and accidents. When the welding operation is completed, the arm may be folded upon itself as shown in FIG. 3 in a storage position leaving the work site relatively clear. Therefore, the time and effort required to set up and replace the supply conduits and equipment used in a operation is substantially reduced. It will be apparent that the invention is not restricted to use in association with welding operations but any operation requiring access to utilities at a distance from the utility source may be facilitated. For example, if chipping, drilling, grinding, or polishing is to be carried out using compressed air powered or electrically powered tools the housing 6 may be fitted with compressed air outlets and electrical outlets. A hook may be fixed to the housing 6 upon which such tools or the welding gun 9 may be suspended during storage.
In the preferred embodiment shown in the drawings, the boom 1 and jib 2 are constructed of three longitudinal rigid tubes. Each rigid tube is fixed at its inner and outer ends in relation to the other two rigid tubes. The rigid tubes pass through the holes of a truncated triangular end plate and the rigid tubes and end plates are welded together to form a rigid joint. The end plates may include a central hole through which various utility conduits may be threaded if desired. The three rigid tubes of the boom 1 and jib 2 are transversely spaced from each other with their respective axes centered at the vertices of an equilateral triangle. Such a construction results in members of high strength which have open ended tubes to encase utility conduits.
The arm may advantageously include flexible tubes 10 within the area of the knuckle 3. The flexible tubes 10 span between the rigid tubes of the boom 1 and jib 2. The flexible tubes 10 may be used to encase and protect conduits passing between the interiors of the rigid tubes of the boom 1 and jib 2. In order to encase conduits as they pass out of the inner end of the boom 1 adjacent the mounting bracket 4, further flexible tubes may be connected to the inner ends of the rigid tubes of the boom 1.
During welding operations, it is often desirable to extract fumes from the welding site usually using a hose with inlet adjacent the welding arc. It is also desirable to provide dust or flux extraction capability to remove the waste products of welding or to remove particles of contaminants from the weld preparation area. Particularly, when semi automatic flux core welding and coated stick electrodes are used, the resultant solidified slag is chipped from the weld deposit and vacuumed away with a dust extraction hose of a vacuum apparatus.
Referring to FIG. 4, the arm may include utility outlets within the housing 6 to enable connection of fume extraction hoses and dust extraction hoses to the outer end of the jib 2. In the embodiment illustrated, a first jib tube 11 operates as a conduit for extracting fumes, a second jib tube 12 provides an encased access channel through which the utility supply conduits may pass, and a third jib tube 13 operates as a conduit for providing vacuum suction to extract particulate matter such as dust, slag and flux.
A fume extraction outlet 14 is located within the housing 6 and provides for the connection of a fume extraction hose (not shown) in a known manner. A rigid fume extraction conduit 15 communicates between the fume extraction outlet 14 and the outer end of the first jib tube 11. As shown in FIG. 1, a first flexible fume extraction conduit 16 communicates between the inner end of the first jib tube 11 and the outer end of a first boom tube 17. In order to avoid kinking of the first flexible fume extractor conduit 16 in the area of the knuckle 3 as the arm is folded, the flexible conduit 16 crosses over the knuckle's longitudinal axis from the first jib tube 11 to communicate with a first boom tube 17 on an opposite side of the longitudinal axis. A second flexible fume extraction conduit 18 communicates between the inner end of the first boom tube 17 and a fume extraction apparatus (not shown) such as a blower and filter assembly. To provide the operator with simple on/off control of the fume extraction apparatus, a fume extraction control switch 19 is mounted within the housing 6. Fume extraction control cables pass from the fume extraction control switch 19 through the second jib tube 12, a first flexible utility conduit 20 (communicating between the inner end of the second jib tube 12 and an associated second boom tube 21), through the second boom tube 21, and through a second flexible utility conduit 22 to the fume extraction apparatus (not shown). It will be apparent that other utility supply conduits, such as compressed air lines, and welding power supply conductors, may also pass through such a route from their respective utility sources to the housing 6.
In a like manner, a vacuum outlet 23 is located within the housing 6 and provides for the connection of a vacuum hose (not shown) in a known manner. Referring to FIG. 4, a rigid vacuum conduit 24 communicates between the vacuum outlet 23 and the outer end of the third jib tube 13. As shown in FIG. 1, a first flexible vacuum conduit 25 communicates between the inner end of the third jib tube 13 and the outer end of a corresponding third boom tube 26. A second flexible vacuum conduit 27 communicates between the inner end of the third boom tube 26 and a vacuum apparatus (not shown) such as a centrifugal cyclone precipitator. A vacuum control switch 28 (shown in Figures 2 and 3) is provided within the housing 6 to initiate and halt the operation of the vacuum apparatus. Vacuum control cables pass through the second boom tube 21 and the second jib tube 12 between the vacuum control switch 28 and the vacuum apparatus in a manner analogous to the fume extraction control cables described above.
Referring to FIG. 1, the knuckle 3 preferably has a longitudinal central opening through which the flexible tubes 16, 20 and 25 extend. The central opening is of transverse dimensions sufficient to permit unrestricted lateral arching of the flexible tubes between the rigid tubes of the boom 1 and jib 2 when the longitudinal axis of the knuckle 3 is not colinear with the longitudinal axes of the boom 1 and jib 2 as shown in FIG. 3, for example.
In order to facilitate use of electrically powered tools, electric receptacles 29 are positioned adjacent the vacuum and dust extraction control switches 28 and 19 in the housing 6 with the associated electric power wires passing through the second jib and boom tubes 12 and 21.
In order to facilitate use of compressed air powered tools a non-regulated compressed air outlet 46 is provided. Where regulated air pressure is required such as during plasma-cutting, a regulated compressed air outlet 30, an air pressure gauge 31 and an air regulator 32 are provided within the housing 6. Referring to FIG. 5, a compressed air line 33 passes between the air outlet 30 and a source of compressed air through the second jib tube 12 and associated second boom tube 21 together with other utility supply conduits as described above.
From the foregoing description therefore, it is apparent that an arm in accordance with the invention may provide any number of utility outlets mounted to support means at the outer end of the jib 2 for allowing connection to an associated utility at a distance from an associated utility source. Utility supply conduits engage the interior of the rigid longitudinal tubes of the boom 1 and jib 2 and span between the rigid tubes of the boom 1 and jib 2 adjacent to the knuckle 3. In this way, the utility supply conduits communicate between an associated utility outlet and the associated utility source. The utility supply conduits are protected within the arm. The conduits are raised above the shop floor and simple connection to utilities is enabled.
The preferred embodiment illustrated in the drawings is adapted for use in M.I.G. welding operations but it will be apparent that such an arm may be adapted for other uses in an analogous manner.
When adapted for use in welding operations such as M.I.G., or flux core welding, a welding wire feeder 5 is mounted to the housing 6. The wire feeder 5 as shown in FIG. 1 generally includes wire feed speed and burn back timer controls 34 for controlling the wire feeder 5. Referring to FIG. 5, a heat selection power output dial 35 is mounted to the housing 6 to control the welding process at a distance from the welding power source (not shown). Control cables pass between the power source and output dial 35 through the second rigid tubes 12 and 21 of the jib 2 and boom 1. A welding gun 9 coacts with the wire feeder 5 and welding controls in a known manner. A spool 8 of welding wire is mounted on the arm and the wire passes through the wire feeder 5 and welding gun 9 to the workpiece 43. M.I.G. welding requires supplies of inert gas, electric power to generate a welding arc, cooling water circulation, and arc control cables between the welding gun 9 and the welding power source, gas source and water source. In general, these utilities are supplied via a single welding supply conductor connected to the associated welding supply source and the welding controls. The welding supply conductor passes through the second rigid tubes 12 and 21 of the jib 2 and boom 1 and spans between the rigid tubes of the boom 1 and jib 2 adjacent the knuckle 3. The welding supply conductor includes a electric supply conductor connected to an electric welding power supply. On the underside of the housing 6 are two welding power plugs 36, one connected to a positive electric supply conductor and the other connected to a negative electric supply conductor. Depending upon the type of welding operation, the polarity of the gun 9 and workpiece 43 may be reversed. The power plugs 36, therefore, allow connection of a cable 44 from the workpiece 43 to either plug 36 enabling polarity reversal. The other plug 36 is connected to a conductor 45 which communicates with the welding gun 9. The conductor 45 and cable 44 may therefore be easily unplugged and reversed in plugs 36. The welding supply conductor for M.I.G. welding includes an inert gas supply conduit connected to a gas source and welding gun cooling water circulating conduits connected to refrigerating apparatus. In order to initiate and terminate the welding operation, a welding arc control button 37 is mounted on the welding gun 9. Arc control cables communicate between the welding arc control button 37 and welding arc controls adjacent to and connected with the electric welding power source for controlling the power source. The arc control cables also pass through the associated second jib and boom tubes 12 and 21.
In order to lock the arm in a desired configuration or in a fixed position adjacent the work site, the arm may include locking means for releasably locking adjacent pivotally connected members. By locking the members, relative rotational movement between adjacent members is prevented and the arm remains in the desired configuration or position during operations. If the arm is not locked, at least at one connection, there is a risk that the arm may drift laterally and collide with adjacent workers or fixtures. Locking means may be used to lock the following adjacent pivotally connected members: the mounting means 4 and the boom 1; the boom 1 and the knuckle 3; and the knuckle 3 and the jib 2. FIG. 6 illustrates a locking means in the latter case.
The locking means include a spring loaded pin 38 connected to the jib 2 and biased for engagement with a series of mating recesses 39 in the knuckle 3. The recesses 39 are spaced from each other in an arc centered around the axle pin 40 about which the knuckle 3 and jib 2 rotate relative to each other. The pin 38 is released from engagement with the recesses 39 by depressing the rocking lever 41 against the bias of a spring 42 preferably with an associated pneumatic cylinder controlled from a switch (not shown) within the housing 6. The knuckle 3 and jib 2 may therefore be locked in a number of relative rotational positions corresponding to each of the recesses. Locking means may be provided adjacent other pivotal connections in a like manner to lock the members of the arm in position.
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|U.S. Classification||219/125.1, 414/744.2, 219/136, 219/137.41|
|International Classification||B23K9/28, F16M11/04|
|Cooperative Classification||B23K9/287, F16M13/02, F16M11/04, F16M2200/065, F16M11/2014|
|European Classification||F16M13/02, F16M11/20A1, B23K9/28H, F16M11/04|
|Dec 13, 1994||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Dec 19, 1994||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: HENNING HANSEN INC., CANADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HANSEN, HENNING;REEL/FRAME:007249/0287
Effective date: 19941212
|Dec 17, 1998||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Jan 12, 1999||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Jun 12, 2003||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|
Year of fee payment: 11
|Jun 12, 2003||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12